Getting creative: Our top 5 unique registry items

Now we’re at the end of our first big summer wedding season, we decided to look back on some of the more unconventional gift items we’ve seen on Honeypot. The beauty of using a cash wedding registry like Honeypot is you can add absolutely anything you can think of for your guests to contribute towards. Plus, you’re not tied to one shop or supplier. These creative couples certainly used that to their advantage! So let’s count down our favourites…

5) Donations towards a favourite charity

One generous couple added an item for their guests to give to an organisation of the couple’s choice instead of giving something for the couple themselves. If you feel somewhat uncomfortable about accepting gifts, this could be a lovely option for your guests to contribute towards a special cause.

4) Babysitting for the kids

For those getting married with young kids, weddings can be a bit of a stretch on the family budget. One couple added a babysitting fund so they could have some alone time on their honeymoon – what a good idea!

3) Vote for a honeymoon destination

This couple were struggling to decide on a honeymoon spot – so instead they set up a few different locations as items on their honeymoon registry. Whichever item ended up with the biggest fund would be the final destination!

2) A touch of nature

These Honeypotters had a big landscaping job planned for their new house. They had a huge list of different native plants to buy, and their guests certainly helped them achieve this!

1) New addition to the family

By far our favourite Honeypot item yet – a puppy! Who could resist contributing towards that, especially if you were guaranteed a cuddle in the future?!

We hope this list has provided you with some wedding registry inspiration. For more creative gift ideas, check out our alternative gift items blog. We can’t wait to see next year’s selection of registry items!

How to make your bicultural wedding special for both your families

Given that we live in such a multicultural society, it’s unsurprising that many couples are from different backgrounds and cultures. That’s why Honeypot co-founder Katie has put together her top tips for making a bicultural wedding a joy for all.

Shane and I got married in March last year. One of the aspects of our wedding I often get asked about is how we balanced and celebrated our two cultures; while we are both Kiwis, Shane’s family is Chinese Malaysian and mine is Pakeha. So let’s break it down – what are the top four things you need to consider when planning a bicultural wedding?

Managing and communicating expectations

It may sound obvious, but the real key to managing family expectations is communication. Early in our planning, we sat down with Shane’s family to discuss the cultural aspects. Shane, who has lived in NZ almost his entire life, would be the first to admit he was completely clueless about Chinese weddings!

One of our discussions got a little heated as Shane’s mum was certain we should do the tea ceremony (an important part of any Chinese wedding) the same day as our reception. The conversation went round and round, with us saying there just wasn’t time. Eventually we realised that my mother-in-law was assuming there wouldn’t be any other ceremony, since we weren’t getting married in a church. We had always planned to have an outdoor ceremony with a celebrant, but hadn’t communicated this at all!

Be prepared to compromise

I’m sure many couples planning weddings have needed to reach compromises between families, and bicultural weddings are no different. However, we are very lucky to have families who get along well and were happy to mix things up!


Chinese tea ceremony weddingFor us, the best compromise was to have two celebrations – this allowed us to have the western-style wedding we had planned, and then a tea ceremony and Chinese dinner with our families two days later. Thankfully Shane’s family did most of the planning for the Chinese dinner, leaving us time to plan the main event.

Having the two separate events meant everyone felt they were included and had a part to play. Shane’s relatives from Malaysia were invaluable at the tea ceremony, showing us the correct way to serve tea and explaining the meaning to my own family.

Don’t see it as a challenge – there are some serious benefits!

Bicultural weddings have their challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them! I think embracing both cultures helped to bring our families together in a meaningful way. Plus, who can complain about two parties (or getting to wear two dresses, amiright ladies)?!

My advice for multicultural couples

I’m sure there are plenty of other couples in a similar situation to us – maybe you also come from different cultures, or religions, or backgrounds. Whatever the case, my recommendation would be to have an honest discussion with your families about expectations early on in your planning. Like us, you may be surprised how much you or your partner will learn!

Our solution may not work for everyone, but there’s other ways to include both cultures. You could have two celebrants (or ministers, priests etc.), or ask a member from each family to do a reading of their choice. When it comes to choosing food, drink and music, make sure you have a few options to suit both cultures.

Last of all, enjoy yourself! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner to conform to other’s expectations – work out the compromise that works best for you and your loved ones so you can all have a great time!

How we used a honeymoon registry for our perfect honeymoon

It seems crazy that it was a year ago that Honeypot co-founders Katie & Shane got hitched and headed off on their honeymoon. We’ve had several people ask what kind of things they could use Honeypot for on their honeymoon, so Katie decided it was about time she shared a little about how they used it to have the most perfect honeymoon possible.

In April 2016, Shane and I set off on an amazing 4 week adventure. If you were going to choose a theme for our honeymoon, it would have to be “fire and ice” – we went from skiing in Japan to sunsets in Bali! However, it wouldn’t have been possible without our generous guests contributing to our Honeypot. We decided to make our wedding registry a mix of flights, accommodation, and special treats that we probably wouldn’t have been able to afford without help from our guests.

Here are a few of our highlights:

Staying in a luxury ski lodge

One of our Honeypot items was a stay in Kimamaya Lodge in Niseko, Japan. This boutique hotel was simply amazing. Some of our favourite aspects were personal shuttles to the chairlifts, a complimentary bottle of bubbles on arrival and two private onsen rooms (a Japanese hot pool tradition). We loved skiing in Japan so much we recently returned over New Year for a week!

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto

We timed our trip to Japan to coincide with the legendary cherry blossom season. Japanese people go absolutely NUTS for sakura! We saw cherry trees everywhere but the best spot has to be the ancient city of Kyoto, where there are temples and Japanese gardens galore.  Our guests contributed to a hanami party, a nightime picnic under lit up blossoms. I loved the scenery but I think Shane was more into the takoyaki (octopus balls!)

Experiencing Tokyo

We added a general item on our Honeypot for “Tokyo Spending Money”. This allowed us to really experience the craziness, beauty and hustle of Tokyo without having to plan too much in advance. Some of our favourite activities were visiting an owl café, seeing Tokyo from a bar on the 34th floor, and shopping in the massive department stores. Being squeezed onto a train with literally thousands of people at rush hour was less enjoyable, but still quintessentially Tokyo!

Cocktails in Bali

After three weeks in Japan, we needed a week to relax and kick back in Bali. After a stressful flight to Bali from Tokyo (piece of advice – always book excess luggage BEFORE you arrive at the airport!), it was wonderful to arrive to a cold drink at our hotel. I’m not ashamed to say we then proceeded to work through the entire list of cocktails throughout our stay at the Tanjung Sari, on Sanur Beach. Once again, our guests had contributed to this via Honeypot.

We sent out thank you notes when we got back, and heard from lots of guests that they loved the photos we included of us enjoying their contributions. Similarly, we hope everyone using Honeypot has an amazing honeymoon experience – we’d love to hear your stories, so if you’d like to share how you used your Honeypot registry, just get in touch!

Thing I wish I’d known before my wedding (or: confessions of a not-so bridezilla)

This week, Honeypot co-founder (and married nearly a year woman) Katie decided to look back on her 2016 wedding and give a few insights into what she wished she had known before getting married – hopefully it may help a few of our soon-to-be brides!

When we decided on this blog topic, I picked up a pen and paper. My first bullet point was EVERYTHING! The fact is, Shane and I have attended very few weddings prior to getting hitched, as we were among the first of our friends to get married. Early on we decided this was a positive, as we didn’t have any expectations to live up to. We were the wedding guinea pigs!

I certainly don’t consider myself to be a wedding expert – then or now. But I thought I’d share some words of wisdom that might have saved me a few grey hairs!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Funnily enough, this was the advice I was given the most, and yet I still ignored! I was never a “bridezilla” (if anything, Shane was definitely a groomzilla at times!), but there were a few things I stressed about unnecessarily. For example, things like getting the wedding favours perfect. I spent AGES trying to decide what to do, ordering the containers, printing and cutting our messages – yet the guests were far more interested in the candy bar!

Book your florist early

We were pretty organised when it came to booking our venue, accommodation and photographer. But for some reason, we left it until 3 months before the wedding to book a florist. We quickly discovered that every florist we approached was booked out since we were getting married in the popular Easter weekend. Luckily for us, I happened upon the facebook page of Twig and Twine and found out they were available. It turned out to be the best last minute decision ever, but we could have saved some stress by organising this earlier!

Don’t stress over seating arrangements

Many people told us that seating arrangements can be challenging, and they were right! We had everything planned, but then received a few last minute RSVPs which meant we had to start over again. Our families both had specific ideas of how they thought it should go, which led to inevitable stress and late nights. Looking back, no one seemed too bothered by where they were seated, so long as they knew a few people around them. After all, they’re only there for dinner before heading to the dance floor!

Don’t rely on taxis

Our wedding was a magical, perfect and stress-free day. That is, until right at the end when our taxis failed to show up. I had booked in advance two minivans to take the bridal party and families back to our accommodation, but after 15 minutes of arguments over the phone with the taxi company, it was clear they weren’t coming. We were extremely lucky that the wedding venue was able to book us taxis through a different company, otherwise we would have been stranded in the middle of the Waitakere bush.

The fact is, our wedding was so fabulous that I can’t really regret anything about the day – but I’m sure the process could have been less stressful at times. I hope these pieces of advice come in handy and you have a wonderful, stress-free and above all FUN wedding!

Note: Thanks to the amazing Samantha Donaldson for our gorgeous wedding photos, including this one!

Wedding registries: How much should we ask for?

Ah, the age old question. Someone more sarcastic would come back with the classic dad answer “how long is a piece of string?” but we at Honeypot know that it’s actually a pretty tricky question!

Judging how much to ask for on your honeymoon or gift registry can be hard – you don’t want to ask for so much that you look greedy but you also don’t want to put so few items that people run out of things to give you.

Too many isn’t a thing

Well okay, if you put 500 different items on your registry, it MIGHT be a bit of overkill… But generally no-one’s going to be offended if you put heaps of options on your registry – after all, it allows them to choose something that they think would be special coming from them.

Assume everyone will give at least $50…

And then add in some leeway. While everyone may not be able to afford a huge amount, it’s likely that many will give at least $50 each, and some generous (often older) relatives could give even more. Therefore make sure you’ve added gifts that total an average of at least $50 per person coming to your wedding (and preferably add a bit more just in case).

Add a mix of small and bigger items

Everyone will give a different amount towards your wedding registry, so try to include a mix of both smaller items (such as cocktails on the beach or a dinner out) with bigger items (such as concert tickets or skydiving). That way people have lots of choice and can give at a level they feel comfortable with

Include a couple of big ticket items

Your guests may surprise you with how generous they are – so make sure you’ve always got a couple of big ticket items up your sleeve on your gift or honeymoon registry. This could be a lounge suite for $3000 or flights to Bali for $2000 – either way, it means that should the smaller, specific items be gifted already, there’s always an opportunity for guests to add to the pool of money for bigger items.

However many gifts you decide to add, don’t forget to make them things you really want, and thank your guests as soon as you can. It truly won’t matter how much you ask for if you show real appreciation for their generosity. And don’t forget – with Honeypot you can always add extra items later!

There’s no place like home: Why you don’t need to leave NZ for your honeymoon

New Zealand is a spectacular holiday spot at the top of many international destination lists. Those of us who are lucky enough to live here are proud of that fact, but we tend to forget it when it comes time to plan our own holidays. So when you’re deciding on your honeymoon destination, try thinking a little differently. Your own backyard has an abundance of beautiful places to explore.

Saving money – and stress

Staying in the country for your honeymoon is obviously a lot better for your budget. Without international flights to pay for, you can instead ask your guests to contribute towards luxury accommodation, delicious meals out, and activities galore – meaning that their generous gifts given through your Honeypot Registry can stretch a lot further!

Wedding planning is stressful enough, and planning a honeymoon while you’re in the lead up to the wedding can just add to that (hence why so many take their honeymoon months after the wedding). With a wedding in your home country, there’s no need to worry about foreign currency, travel insurance, and all the other tricky things that can get a bit overwhelming when you’re busy planning a wedding as well. Plus, flying is the single most ecologically costly act of individual consumption, so a New Zealand honeymoon is a great choice if you’re environmentally conscious.


So many spots, so little time

Finding somewhere in New Zealand for a romantic trip isn’t hard. Obviously Queenstown is a favourite spot for both destination weddings and honeymoons – and for good reason! The gorgeous scenery, exciting adventures, and amazing hospitality make it a ridiculously romantic spot for a honeymoon.
For a relaxed honeymoon, try Raglan, a small beachside town just two hours south of Auckland. It was recently named New Zealand’s best looking town by Lonely Planet thanks to the dramatic black coastline that surrounds it. Raglan is a foodie haven with a strong creative community, so there’s no shortage of original art and great locally roasted coffee. The town also provides many opportunities to get outdoors, with a range of stunning walks including the Bridal Veil Falls trail.

For a real culture fix, Napier is a great honeymoon destination choice. The vast majority of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1930s, and as a result Napier is one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. If you ever get tired of admiring the architecture, you can move onto the many art galleries, try out rafting on the Mohaka River, and relax at one the many Hawke’s Bay wineries.

If you’re after a truly adventurous honeymoon, a visit to Blue Lake is in order. Located in the Nelson Lakes Region, this destination can only be accessed by a two-day advanced tramp. But if you’re up to the challenge, it will be well worth your efforts. Blue Lake holds the title of the world’s clearest lake, meaning you’ll get to witness breathtaking blue-violet hues and visibility of up to 80 metres – a sight you will certainly never forget!

 

Your go-to wedding planning timeline

Here at Honeypot, we know how overwhelming wedding planning can be. If you’ve never been involved in one before, it can be hard to know when you need to be booking wedding venues, finding a florist, looking for a dress or figuring out what to do for a wedding registry (hint: we’d suggest a honeymoon registry with Honeypot, but we might be a little biased…)

That’s why we’ve put together our handy wedding planning timeline – your basic guide to when we’d recommend doing each of your main wedding related tasks. Of course, you can stick to any timeline you like – but it doesn’t hurt to know what other people are doing (and with Katie and Shane having just gotten married in March, they’ve lived and breathed this timeline!)

So without further ado, here’s your go-to wedding planning timeline:

wedding-timeline

 

What to ask the wedding venue

Wedding planning can be scary – that’s why we’ve gotten recent bride Katie to put together her thoughts on how to make wedding planning easy and fun. First up – questions to ask the venue!

When you start looking at venues, the process can be daunting and overwhelming. While most venues provide comprehensive info on details such as menu, drinks lists and prices, other information is more difficult to come by. Here are just a few of the things you could be asking:

1. What are our option/s for wet weather?

If you have an outdoor ceremony, the risk of rain is unfortunately something you need to consider. Some venues offer outdoor marquees or covered areas, while others may require you to use the same area for both ceremony and reception.

2. What is the minimum and maximum capacity of the venue?

Venues vary greatly in size, from small 30-person venues to large venues which can fit hundreds of guests. This means you will need a rough idea of you guest numbers before you book your venue. Sit down beforehand and write a draft guest list before approaching venues – it may not be completely accurate but at least it will give you an idea.

3. Any unusual rules or regulations that we’ll need to comply with? 

You might be surprised by some of the rules set by venues or the areas they are situated in. For example, some venues in protected areas have noise restrictions – not great if you’re wanting to party into the wee hours of the morning!

4. Is the venue well-equipped for people with disabilities?

This may not apply, but consider any older relatives or friends with disabilities who may require a walker or wheelchair. Check whether the staff are available to help with seating and making sure all your guests are comfortable.

5. What are the options for younger guests?

If you’re planning to invite children to your wedding, keep them in mind when looking at venues. They may offer kiddie meals or special chairs for children.

6. What is the bathroom situation?

While this is definitely not the most romantic aspect of the venue, it can be very important! Believe it or not, some guests we have spoken have pointed out a lack of bathrooms as one of the major drawbacks of previous weddings.

7. What additional services are included in the venue price? 

When comparing venues, many couples look to the hire fee and food and drink costs. While this is a good starting point, it’s really important to consider what else a venue is offering. Some venues include centrepieces, decorations, canapés and even entertainment in their hire fee, while others require the couple to provide or hire these separately.

 8. What are the payment options? 

Payment options vary greatly between venues. Some will require large deposits to secure a booking, which may not be within your initial budget.

What’s most important is that you’re not afraid to ask! When picking a venue, it needs to work for you and your needs – so asking what you might think are silly questions could be the difference between worrying about little things on the day and having a stress-free wedding.

 

Thinking outside the honeymoon – alternate wedding registry items

People have started asking what you would like as a wedding gift, but you’re stumped. Perhaps you already have all the traditional items such as kitchenware, and a honeymoon isn’t on the cards for you.

To help you out, we’ve come up with some ideas for larger items that multiple guests can contribute towards – after all, what wedding guest doesn’t want you to help you achieve your dreams? Using Honeypot will allow your guests to get excited about what they’re putting money towards and allow you to thank those who contributed.

Deposit on a house

For many couples, purchasing your first home is a big step towards your future life together – and with the house prices in New Zealand (okay, mostly Auckland), it couldn’t hurt to get some help. Allowing your guests to be a part of this may be the perfect option for the budget-conscious couple – just remember to throw an awesome house-warming party for everyone once you move in!

Renovation costs

If you’re already past the step of purchasing your first home, you may be considering renovations. You could list items needed, such as timber, tiles or even tradesman costs. Once your renovations are finished, invite everyone around to thank them and show off the house!

Large appliances or furniture

If you’re anything like the Honeypot team, your furniture and whiteware is probably a mishmash of hand-me-downs, TradeMe purchases and leftovers from old flatmates! Asking guests to contribute to a good quality dining table, lounge suite, fridge or washing machine could be a great practical option that will last for years to come.

Home entertainment

Maybe you’re less of a homemaker and more into gadgets? A new TV or gaming console could be the perfect gift for you. Just remember to invite your guests over to watch the game or for a gaming afternoon to thank them!

 

Whatever you decide you need some help with, add it to your Honeypot gift registry and let your guests choose what they’d like to help you save for. Rather than just giving you impersonal cash, they’ll get to make a contribution to your future – and who doesn’t want to do that?

6 ways to make your wedding special for your guests

In the lead up to wedding season, you’re probably stressing a little about how much is left to do before your big day. While you’re busy planning anyway, you might as well make sure you’ve had a think about what your wedding will be like for your guests. After all, your wedding is all about you – but who doesn’t want to make their special day special for all their loved ones as well?

Here, Honeypot co-founder (and first guest to hit the dance floor) Verity gives her top tips for making your wedding fun for your guests:

Make sure they can get to and from the wedding

There’s nothing worse than going to an open bar wedding and only being able to have one drink because you’re driving. Have a think about whether there’s public transport easily accessible to your venue, or if it’s really far out, whether you need to organise group transport to and from the wedding. You don’t necessarily have to be the one who pays for it, but it means guests can kick back and have an awesome time without having to stress about transport.

Look out for those with intolerances or allergies

It might be frustrating when someone says they’re gluten free, dairy free, egg free and nut free, but for those with intolerances, allergies, or conditions like coeliac disease, weddings can be a really tough time with everyone else eating delicious things around them (believe me, I know!)

Ask on your invitations/RSVPs whether anyone has any food intolerances, and try to ensure that you have an option for them. Most venues or caterers can easily sort this with advance warning, and it will make them feel much more included.

Keep speeches short and inclusive

We all know the horror of a long, drunken best man’s speech – and for the majority of guests who don’t understand the inside jokes or find the best man funny, it can seriously take the fun out of a wedding. Ask everyone giving a speech to keep it short and as inclusive as possible; stories that are funny or sweet regardless of whether someone was there or not are the best. Finally, try to keep all the speeches under half an hour total.

Think about your playlist

You might love heavy metal, but that doesn’t mean Uncle Jim or Cousin Polly loves head banging in quite the same way. Let your playlist reflect your personal tastes, but have a think about what will appeal to the most people as well, so that everyone can have a good time. A good spread of well-known songs is usually a winner (although if you include Puppy Love, your DJ might be labelled the worst DJ ever – hello Love Actually reference!)

Look out for your older guests

Your wedding might be the biggest party of your life, but for your grandparents or other older guests, it can be a really tiring day. Think about how they can be most comfortable – seat them away from loud speakers, make sure they’ve got a seat at times when everyone else may be standing (such as during cocktails), and if needed, organise transport for them to leave the reception a little earlier if needed.

Think about how much it’s costing them

We all know that weddings cost a lot for the happy couple – but have a think about how much it’s costing your guests as well. If it’s a destination wedding, give your loved ones plenty of advance notice so they can save for flights and accommodation, and accept that some people won’t be able to make it.

Even a local wedding can cost guests a few hundred dollars between their outfit, transport, gift, and childcare if needed. Many 20 and 30 somethings end up attending several weddings a year, so make sure yours isn’t the one that breaks the bank for them. Creating a Honeypot registry for your honeymoon or gifts means they can give as much or as little as they want for a gift – they can even keep their amount anonymous if they choose.

Most of all though, remember that your guests just want to celebrate your special day with both of you – so make it fun for everyone and you’re sure to all have an absolutely fantastic day.

Honeymooning on a budget

After the stress of planning a wedding, all most couples want to do is relax on a romantic honeymoon together. But after you’ve spent so much on a wedding, often you want to keep costs down for your honeymoon. So here are Honeypot’s top tips for a thrifty honeymoon:

Keep an eye out for bargains

Start looking well in advance so you can grab bargains as they come along – try signing up to the airline’s newsletters or to Skyscanner Price Alerts to be notified when deals come along. If you’re flexible with dates and don’t want to leave the day after the wedding, you can catch some fantastic deals.

Keep it local

Who says you need to leave New Zealand to go on honeymoon? Take a newlywed road trip and discover the beauty of your own country, or hop on a cheap domestic flight to discover a part of the country that you’ve never been to before. You’ll save on flight costs, and if you can use your own car then you’ll save on transport costs too.

Avoid the peak season

If you don’t feel the need to jet off on your honeymoon as soon as you’ve said your vows, then consider travelling outside of peak season. Avoid school holidays and long weekends, and look at when you can get the best deals. If in doubt, a travel agent should be able to tell you the cheapest times of the year to fly.

Get off the beaten track

Do you really need to head to Paris, New York or London? How about hitting up a less touristy spot? Even if your flights cost you a fair amount, places in the developing world can be much cheaper once you’re there. Wanting an island holiday? Instead of jetting off to Hawaii, consider Thailand or Bali. History buffs? Avoid Western Europe and instead go see the Aztec pyramids in Mexico. 

Make the most of technology

In this day and age, budgeting for a honeymoon shouldn’t be a case of crossing your fingers and hoping that there’s enough left over at the end of the wedding. Try using a budgeting app to really take control of your finances and make sure you’ve got enough in the kitty for your dream honeymoon. There are loads out there, but our favourite’s YNAB, which stands for You Need A Budget (Verity’s only a TINY bit obsessed with it…)

Ask for contributions to your honeymoon as gifts

Help your guests give you a gift you’ll cherish forever by asking for contributions to your flights, meals out, experiences or any other part of your honeymoon through your Honeypot registry. Couples who’ve used Honeypot have had their generous gifts fund up to 70% of their honeymoon – which was a welcome relief after all the costs of their wedding!

Keen to get started? Create your Honeypot account now!